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  • Mom Shares How She Turned A Portion Of Her 27-sqm Condo Unit Into Her Child's School

    Just because you have a small place doesn’t mean you cannot make it conducive for learning.
    by Din Real Bautista .
Mom Shares How She Turned A Portion Of Her 27-sqm Condo Unit Into Her Child's School
PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    Adjusting to this “new normal” is challenging for all of us, including the young ones. If it’s already hard for adults, think how the whole pandemic has affected children’s socialization, routines, outdoor time, and more.

    My daughter, Monica, who is turning 4 years old, is an only child. We live in a small, one-bedroom condo unit. Enrolling her to school at an early age was our way for her to meet friends, be exposed to different cultures, and more. School definitely helped improve her empathy, social skills, and self-expression. But the community quarantine greatly affected our immediate plans for her.

    I see a silver lining in all these. It is a way for us to strengthen her foundation at home — that’s where everything starts anyway. This new normal gives us a chance to become more mindful and more present as parents. It also reinforces our partnership with the school in helping Monica develop her skills and abilities.

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    Her school is offering 100% online curriculum for this school year. This means she gets to be in a class with 30 to 45 minutes per session thrice a week. It will purely be virtual. The rest of the time will be about learning practical skills.

    So, why did we still enroll her if I can teach her on my own? I did it because Monica loves her school and I respect that.

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    Preparation for online schooling

    Monica's online classes are done in the bedroom, where she has her own table and chair.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    We enrolled her in an online summer class for a month just to see if she’ll get a hang of it. Luckily, she adjusted well. So, my advice if you want to continue formal schooling is to go ahead and look for free trial classes and see how your child will respond.

    Online schooling requires a “venue” for a child to feel that they are in school. Focus matters. In our case since we don’t have a spare room, I made sure to clear a space just for her classes. Then we just revert to the original setup after each class is done.

    As much as I want all her school supplies to be in just one storage, we only have limited room space. So I made sure she knows where her things are (all within her reach) so she’ll be the one to get and return those. This way, she is given responsibility in keeping her things together.

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    Our home as her new school

    At first I was really worried about how our setup will be. We don’t have much space so a study room is not possible. But then I realized, why not make our whole space a place for learning? Learning is not only done in school so now is the perfect time to teach some life skills while maximizing every corner of our home. Since she’s already able to understand and perform small chores, I make sure to involve her.

    Kitchen

    Monica helps wash the dishes, too!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    She helps me prepare the ingredients for recipes, arrange utensils, wash the dishes and more. I make sure to engage her in different conversations, which improve her vocabulary and boost her confidence level.

    Bathroom

    I also let her help me while I do the laundry. It’s all play for her. Yes, it often results to added mess for me to clean, but it yields extra happiness for her. She also knows she needs to wash her hands thoroughly after every bathroom use.

    Living room and dining room

    We use one space for the living room and dining, so we do activities here together.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    Her daddy works at home so it teaches her how to respect time and to focus on one area for play, at least for a certain time. This is why routine and schedule really play a big part.

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    Bedroom

    Monica attending online classes.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    This is where her toys and books are, so play happens here most of the time. She knows she has to pack away and clean-up on her own every time.

    Balcony 

    We put plants in the balcony so she can have a feel of the outdoors.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Din Real Bautista
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    Luckily, we have a small balcony and it’s been our source of “outside world” ever since this whole quarantine started. We started growing plants recently and this experience is giving Monica simple lessons on biology. I get to explain things like why we should wait, why we should water them as she sees the growth of the plants each day.

    Even though she has a small space for physical activities, I think of ways to make it fun. We exercise, jump, or just do silly things together. We may have missed the fun outside but it doesn’t mean we cannot improvise.

    Reading through my description above might sound like we live in a big house, but in reality, it’s a 27-sqm one-bedroom unit. But just because we have a small place doesn’t mean we cannot make it conducive for learning. I love the idea of going to school, but I also love that our home is where my daughter can learn the basic values first —quarantine or not.

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    Din Real Bautista is a proud full-time homemaker, blogger, and member of the SmartParenting Mom Network. She's a wife to Beejay and mommy to Monica, showing what’s real, one story at a time. Follow her on Instagram @dinrealbautista.

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